The criticism of Ricky Ponting’s alleged arrogance and lack of sportsman spirit has moved beyond cricketing circles. Some of Australia’s biggest icons from other sports have now expressed outrage and disappointment over the conduct of the captain and his team.
Wednesday’s Herald Sun, the country’s largest selling daily, quoted the legendary sailor John Bertrand as saying the Aussie cricket team’s “moral compass needs to be retuned”, and that Sport Australia Hall of Fame — of which Bertrand is chairman — would seek a meeting with Cricket Australia over the issue this week.
“Sport is only sport. It’s not war,” the Sun quoted Bertrand as saying.
“We believe Australia’s Test team moral compass needs to be retuned and we want Cricket Australia to know that…
“We will be seeking a meeting with Cricket Australia to seek to get the Australian team to readjust their behaviour so that they do show respect for their opponents.”
Bertrand, who skippered Australia to victory in the 1983 America’s Cup — the biggest prize in yachting and the oldest active trophy in international sport — ending 132 years of US supremacy, said he was speaking also on behalf of fellow Hall of Famers Herb Elliott, one of the greatest middle-distance runners of all time, and Rob de Castella, the country’s greatest marathoner.
“Both Rob and Herb feel very strongly about this issue,” Bertrand said.